THE RIGHT TO PROTEST

Google defines protests as ‘’a statement or action expressing disapproval of or objection to something’’ and we have seen loads of protests around the world fighting mandatory vaccinations(Germany for example). We do have the right to protest. Waves of protests spread after George Floyd died with  the knee of an officer on his neck.

Wanting to have your home insulated is fair. I remember when here in my hometown of Brasov the City Council approved a plan to insulate flat buildings and ours was included and even upgraded building windows on each floor. The insulation did what it was supposed to do, so I understood Insulate Britain in that perspective.

Then I read more about them, and how their staged protests around London and Port of Dover saw multiple roads blockaded and I thought it was an extreme measure. The governments don’t love protests of any nature or cause because it makes them look bad. But there have always been protests, I remember reading that plebeians in Roman times would often leave the city leaving patricians to fend for themselves which wouldn’t work because they didn’t want to do more than pouring their own wines(nowadays they own lots of bottle openers).

Markus Spiske for PEXELS.

Insulate Britain did more than mere protesting lack of measures from the government to insulate homes, they blocked roads in a series of civil disobedience ‘’until the government agrees to fund the insulation of all homes in Britain’’ – ‘’by 2030 to cut carbon emissions’’. ‘’Our flesh and blood are being tossed aside as expendable.”(Tracey Mallagan’s words) yet we have to think, if I were to need to get to the hospital to give birth I would have been stuck in traffic which is mind blowing, and all other emergencies that happen on a daily basis, what about those lives?

The outcome of such behavior? The government proposed a new bill called ‘Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill’’ which was already rejected by the House of Lords which then made its way back to the House of Commons. This bill wanted to give ‘’police new powers to stop protests in England and Wales if they are deemed to be too noisy and disruptive.’’ which doesn’t sound like it had balance as a factor. How much power should they have? Especially after Sarah Everard’s murder….

Citizens should keep their right to protest, but in a peaceful way which guarantees nobody gets hurt nor dies due to blocked roads, as Liberty Human Rights puts it, there are limitations to the right of protesting in certain circumstances such as ‘’pursue one or more of these aims: the interests of national security or public safety, the prevention of disorder or crime, the protection of others’ rights and freedoms.’’ which clearly weren’t considered by Insulate Britain.

I do fear that we will lose all right to assembly, protest and raise awareness to causes slowly if it becomes law.

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